Most of us end up interpreting life the wrong way. I was wondering if you take out the religion from personalities like Buddha, Jesus, Moses and Mohammad, what would be left of them. Aside from the fact that they successfully preached the meaning and right way of life, they traveled. Among them, I chose to write about Buddha who gave up not only his riches but his family ties, for the pursuit of the ultimate answers.
Buddha, the frontier of Buddhism, left his home for enlightenment-something that we too often seek as modern travelers. Keeping the religion aside, here’s what we can learn from the great traveler of the 6th Century B.C.
Realization of a world beyond
A prince with potentiality of becoming the future King, Buddha came across the greater truth of life, that wealth is not everything in the world. The narrow radius of Siddhartha’s (Buddha’s real name) life limited to the daily chores of family and palace were unable to answer the simple questions about life. Today, we too are intertwined in our normal lives. Lucky are those who decide to take the leap towards realization. Leaving everything behind on a hike around the world is always a fruitful endeavor.
The great step
Married to beautiful wife and a potential son, nobody ever talks about how hard decision it was for Siddhartha to abandon everything. There was a country to take care of, too. Siddhartha was 16 when he married and 29 when he finally decided to leave. He could not convince his family, so he sneaked away at night. Well, it does not mean we should sneak away too, as personal space and wishes are given the most priority these days, unlike the Buddha’s era. But it is very important that we take that decision for ourselves, to leave our knots behind until we arrive back.
The meaning of life
‘Why are we here?’ is the age-long question that we demand answer to. Wouldn’t it be much easier if we just knew the simple way? Well, it just happens that to understand that, we need to actually go out and see how the nature works. Observation of the perfect harmony between the rising of the sun, the wind, rivers, and the creatures and so on, is how we understand it. Buddha did that. He lived with the sages, observed the world beyond the palace, talked with people, meditated, and most importantly, traveled. It took him 6 years to understand the simple mechanism of life. And he knew he would have never learned the way of the world with the noble teachers and storytellers he had in the palace. Personal observation, it seems, is more necessary to mere descriptions.
Keep doing it
After Siddhartha became the enlightened one, he had two choices-whether to attain Nirvana at once, or to stay and spread the knowledge. He chose to stay. During the remainder of his life, he traveled to many places in India and preached Buddhism. In modern times, we write travel journals, articles, and use modern means to share our knowledge with our loved ones, and even the world. Those who travel a lot become experts with experience and understand that travel is a means and never the end.
To understand life, it seems, we need to travel the Buddha way- enlightenment then will only be a few steps far away.
Some places where Buddha traveled seeking truth and life.
- Savatthi, Rajagaha, Kasambi, Veshali, Nalanda, Bodh Gaya, Benares, Mithila and Bangladesh.
Formerly written for Himalayan Glacier Trekking Pvt. Ltd.